Re: virus: Response to Zander

Alexander Williams (
Thu, 12 Dec 1996 17:56:36 -0500

Richard Brodie wrote:
> Zander wrote:

[Geez, is this how all those analytical nicknames get created? One
little slip ... (chuckle)]

> Well, since you don't believe in Level 3, you're hardly an authority on
> how to get there. I try to force people into lateral thinking by setting
> up cognitive dissonance with the imperfections inherent in a Level-2
> world view. I'm eager to learn better ways. Stephen?

Now, if you really were a clever salesman, you'd note that my disbelief
in Level-3 does not in any way inhibit me from functioning in your
definition of it and you'd suggest, parenthetically, that my objections
typically encompass multiple world-views, so I must, prima facia, be
functioning in a way you equate to Level-3. Myself, I've /always/ felt
and thought like this, so perhaps I'm one of those Bohddivistas that
spontaneously achieved enlightenment.

That would certainly explain any inability I have to see how others are
unable to think in a multi-phasic worldview constantly as I do, wouldn't

I don't believe in the least that you can `force' people to think
laterally. You can create conditions which allow people to entertain
semi-phasic thinking, which is exactly what the Masonic Orders do with
myth and ritual, in order to create a `transcendental' state which
brings an initiate into a state in which they see the world as both
`magick' and material, but I do not think you can /force/ it, and
certainly not with bare rhetoric.

[Now, if Level-3 was, instead, put forward as a Lux Ordo, a mysterious
group which uses myth and symbol to communicate multiple-Truths
simultaneously, you might find me an immediate convert and initiate,
even being /completely/ aware of memetic tricks being levered to create
in me those feelings. It appeals to my asthetics, plus, its much more
likely to draw in those who are most likely to learn.]

> [sound of head beating against brick wall]

Now now, no mocking what most of your posts make me feel like doing ...

> But I don't do it at all. Nothing I say is the Truth, especially the
> Levels model. Funny no matter how many times I tell you that, you don't
> hear it.

You /do/ do it, Richard; I'll leave it to other list members to find
their favourite quotes where you appear to treat this Level-3 construct
as an element of absolute truth in its own right. In fact, this is
quite possibly the most reasonable post I've seen you make on the
subject to the list yet.

> >> It's up to each conscious person to decide which memes he wants to
> >> propagate and which, if any, he wants to suffocate. It's unconscious,
> >> militant ignorance that fuels viruses of the mind.
> >
> >An argument can /easily/ made that your Level structure is nothing
> >more than another virus of the mind. Are you sure you want to level
> >such a large gun at your own foot?
> Alex, this whole list is ABOUT creating a virus of the mind - an
> empowering, rational, conscious, atheistic religion. Part of that is
> raising the consciousness of the participants.

Read what you wrote, Richard. I quote, `It's unconscious, militant
ignorance that fuels viruses of the mind.' Then you proceed to state
that we are talking about constructing such a virus. I'm not denying
that as our aim, I would like to say that its silly to suggest
constructing such a beast which, we all recognize, would have to lever
off those things we find most repugnant to be successful.

In a sense, the very idea itself is self-contradictory (Level-3ness
aside) and hypocritical. I feel, for good or ill, that the entire path
led to via intelligent, rational thought is doomed to failure, whether
that rationality be Level-3 as a banner to rally behind, or simple
discussion of the Church of Virus. Capturing the hearts and minds of
the populace will require tapping far more primal structures in their
psyches; Scientology manages it, but only barely. Protestant
Christianity does far better in the US.

> >I can't let you slide in your unstated assumption that to not be
> >obnoxious is to be unobtrusive. I like to lie to myself and suggest
> >that discreet, intelligent and subtle commentary rouses the respect of
> >one's peers in a way that unprofessional discourse does not. I admit,
> >this may be purely illusory, but it makes me feel better to proceed
> >under such assumptions in unheated discourse.
> This is a great insight. You would rather adopt beliefs that give you
> short-term comfort than ones that produce desired results or are more
> accurate.

One might suggest that I trade short-term effect for long-term effect;
the squeaky wheel gets the oil but its also the first to be replaced. I
would rather adopt beliefs that conform to my internally-designed world
of satisfaction that I am responsible for than the one /you/ prefer. In
a sense, using your term and one I picked up recently off (which might as well be called
sci.lang.communication.theory these days), we are `mutually insane' on
the topic of our Level-3-compliant internal worlds. We can have no
logical discourse because we have mutually exclusive internal-maps,
neither of which are that of Absolute Truth, if you will, the extrinsic

> I'm actually working on becoming MORE obnoxious; my tendency is to be
> nice.

Here's a hint: Most on /this/ list seem to respond far better to nice,
pleasant and erudite persuasion.

> Now your getting into the memetics of rhetoric. Let's do some
> experiments! This is an incredible field. Cialdini's book "Influence"
> (available at the memetics bookstore
> is a great start.

I'd really rather avoid the memetics of rhetoric; unfortunately, in my
inner world, sometimes self-satisfaction is directly at odds with my
ideas and those closely related by memotype dominating a population in a
dominant role.

> Neither set of words is at all empty. If you don't think wholeheartedly
> adopting Christ as your savior would change your life, you're mistaken.
> In fact shifting into a new Level 2 is often a first step toward Level
> 3.

Note carefully what I wrote; not /different/ but /better/. You didn't
even begin to approach that question. You're telling me my life will be
/better/ if I buy into your Level-3 memetic complex, but without any way
of communicating how save for saying `it will be, trust me, just look at
me,' just like protestetalyzing Christians.

Alexander Williams {   ||Member: Evil Geniuses
          }    ||For a Better Tomorrow
============================================// => Charter Member <=

"Perhaps we should lower our mental trousers and compare the size of our consciousnesses?" -- Jan Sands to Marvin Minsky ==================================================================== <>